W. Narzt, L. Furtmüller, M. Rosenthaler: Is Bluetooth Low Energy an Alternative to Near Field Communication? Journal of Mobile Multimedia (JMM) Vol.12 No.1&2, Published and Distributed by Rinton Press, ISSN 1550-4646, pp. 76-90, April 2016.
While the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standard is commonly being used for energy-efficient mid-range data transmission and localization where distances of several meters are to be covered, its signal characteristics also reveals stable and deterministic behavior in the ultra-short range with significant higher signal strengths compared to distant placements, which potentially qualifies BLE as a substitute technology for Near Field Communication (NFC) for the purpose of identifying objects at very short distances. This paper investigates the signal strength behavior of BLE at a few centimeters distance between transmitter and receiver, points out strengths and weaknesses in terms of antenna alignments, shielding issues and interfering signals and presents potential application areas for ultra-short range object identification with a transmission technology that is not designed for that purpose.